Make Textbooks Affordable

Everyone knows that textbooks prices are outrageous. Students spend an average of $1,200 a year on textbooks and course materials, and prices have been rising more than for times the rate of inflation for the past two decades!

It’s no accident that textbooks are so expensive. Publishing companies are raking in huge profits while engaging in bad practices that drive up costs: issuing new editions that make used books hard to find, bundling textbooks with unnecessary CDs and pass-codes, and more. They get away with it because students don’t have a choice -- we’ve got to buy the book they’re selling, even if the price is outrageous.

The good news is that we're making progress. Students can save hundreds through discounted options like renting, used books and bookswaps on campus.  

The real momentum comes from lasting solutions like open-source textbooks, which could literally revolutionize the textbook market by offering free online access and reducing costs up to 80%. Open source textbooks are faculty-written and peer reviewed just like published textbooks, but they're available free online, free to download, and affordable in print.

So we're fighting to rein in costs by promoting cost-saving solutions on campus, while also tackling publishers' stranglehold on the market to change prices for good.  We're educating students, faculty and bookstores, and raising awareness through research and the media. We're also calling on publishers, colleges and foundations to give faculty the training and resources they need to adopt open-source textbooks and save students millions each year.

QUESTIONS? Contact Our National Campaign Staff here.

Issue updates

Media Hit | Textbooks

A New Cost at College: Digital Access Codes

DIGITAL books and study tools don’t weigh down backpacks as heavy textbooks do. But fees for the codes to get them may be a financial burden for some college students, a new report found.

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News Release | Student PIRGs | Textbooks

Report: New Trend in College Textbook Market Presents Danger For Students

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Student PIRGs released a new report titled Access Denied that investigates the concerning growth of online access codes in college classrooms

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Report | The Student PIRGs | Textbooks


The growth of cost-saving alternatives like used textbooks and free, openly-licensed educational resources have forced publishers to reassess their business and shift toward a new model: access codes.

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Report | Student PIRGs | Textbooks


A new report investigating the real impact of high textbook prices on today’s college students.

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